Small local businesses were forced by the COVID-19 pandemic to become content marketers. And they plan to continue as the crisis eases, according to the 2022 Content Marketing Study from the Meta Branded Content Project, working with Borrell Associates Inc.
Of the local advertisers polled, 42% plan to make content marketing more of a priority this year. Overall, 64% delivered some form of content in 2021.
Apparently it’s working: local content producers have 60% higher annual revenue than non-content marketers, although the study cautions that correlation is not causation. And they say it helps them connect with their customers.
Moreover, content marketers are much more active online than firms that do not provide content. And they use more digital services -- buying an average of 4.8, compared to 3.9 for those that do not offer content.
Case in point: 42% of content marketers purchase email marketing services, versus 21% of non-content marketers. But email is not the top area of investment.
In contrast, 48% of content marketers buy SEO, and the same percentages invests in online video production. Only 26% of non-content marketers purchase SEO, and 25% buy online video production.
In addition, 40% of content marketers spend on CRM, compared to 19% of those who do not publish content. Social media management is utilized by 39% of content marketers and 28% of non-content marketers.
What’s more, content marketers are much more likely to use social media, particularly LinkedIn.
Email is one of the top three content delivery channels, although it is not #1. Of this sample, 48% distribute content via email, and 14% prefer email as the channel they would use if they could choose only one.
However, 26% would choose their social media pages as their sole delivery channel, and 60% now use them to deliver content. Another 15% would prefer their websites as their only channel, while 63% utilize them.
All this proves that distribution help is needed, the study notes.
“Digital is by far #1, but it is within their own walled gardens, their website, their social media pages and their email lists.” It states.
That said, 54% of content marketing users believe they
Who’s doing content marketing? The main sectors are finance and insurance, professional & business services, real estate, educational services, manufacturing and information, media or advertising.
“We expected local businesses to decrease their use of content marketing following the COVID crisis, when it was widely used,
so we were pleasantly surprised to find that their interest actually increased since 2020,” states Julia Campbell, general manager of the Meta Branded Content Project.
Campbell continues, “This tells us that businesses really believe in the power and promise of content marketing, even though many of them had not even heard of it a few years ago.”
The Meta Branded Content Project is an initiative by the Local Media Consortium, Local Media Association and Meta Journalism Project.
Borrell surveyed 2,811local advertisers and interviewed 194 through Borrell’s SMB Panel in March 2022.